Bullying Media Study

Consumer and Public Health Informatics and ePublishing Lab


The purpose of this study was to research the most effective and appropriate delivery format(s) and channels for health and safety information for children, using bullying as the topic, and to evaluate the interfaces and content of key websites on bullying.

Effective health and safety information delivery formats for youth were recommended on the basis of usability tests with teenagers interacting with bullying websites


The goal of this study was to formulate recommendations for effective website delivery methods and formats for health and safety information directed at children in the age groups eight to 11 and 12 to 14.

In the first step, the theoretical (heuristic) evaluation, different “expert review” methods were used to evaluate the four websites with regard to readability and compliance with generally accepted technical and ethical core-quality criteria: A “bullying expert” solicited for the study evaluated the accuracy and appropriateness of the site contents; usability experts reviewed the sites according to published usability heuristics; readability of representative content was measured by the Flesch Reading Ease score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score. The heuristic evaluation was partly used as a basis to develop hypotheses for potential problems on these websites and to guide the protocol development for testing.

In the second step, the usability test, the four websites were tested with ten teenagers aged 12 to 14 during the 2004 March school break. These observations and interviews were used – in conjunction with the expert evaluations – to formulate recommendations concerning the evaluated websites and more general recommendations on how websites for teenagers should look like.

Funding Agency

Health Canada

Principal Investigator

Eysenbach, G.

For more information about this project, contact:

Gunther Eysenbach